Ken and Beverly Brown of Mt. Olive are the owners of B&K; Military Surplus in Warrior. The store has been open for a year, and the two have seen many veterans and future veterans (people headed to war) come into the store. They see many of their customers as family. A camera-shy Beverly did most of the talking.
• Tell me about your family.
We have a daughter and a son in Mt. Olive, where we live, and a daughter in Kimberly. We also have two other children who do not live in the area.
• Are you from this area?
We lived in Warrior for years, then we moved to Boaz and opened a military-surplus store. We moved back to this area to be near our children.
• What got you into the military surplus business?
My husband Ken worked for Delta Airlines for 30 years. He got injured at that job. I went to work and had my employer hold my check for a year. After a year, we used the money to start buying merchandise.
• What do you enjoy about it?
I’ve always been interested in history and in the military. I come from a military family. My dad was in the Army in World War II. My son was in the Army in Desert Storm. My husband was in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in New York. And my grandson David Douglas is in the Army. He’s in Afghanistan now. He’s been there 13 months.
• Tell me about the people who come to your store.
We’ve had hundreds of young boys and women come through the store who are going to Iraq or Afghanistan, or who have already been there. Those boys really want to see us safe. They tell me their stories, and some of them keep in touch by email. Before they leave, they come by to give me a hug. I cry just like they’re my own kids. We also have Vietnam veterans and lots of other customers who come in.
• Have you had any community involvement?
This store has supported a lot of the base needs for soldiers, like toilet tissue. They let me know what they need. We put a sign out front. Within 24 hours, the needs are met. The people of Warrior have really been good. I’ve been shocked at how they respond to the needs.
• Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I’m a Christian, and I believe we’re in this for a reason. It’s enjoyable, the kids especially.